DENVER -- There was a distinct style of play on display Friday for the Broomfield volleyball team, one that saw the Eagles play their best whenever their backs were pressed against the wall.
Unfortunately for the Eagles, the formula was not a successful one. Twice Broomfield managed to fight back against higher-seeded opponents during pool play of the Class 4A state tournament at the Denver Coliseum, but both times those rallies fell short. Broomfield suffered four-game losses against Northern League rival Longmont and Coronado, eliminating the Eagles from the tournament and ending their season at 15-12.
Longmont defeated the Eagles 25-16, 25-20, 22-25, 25-18. Coronado handed Broomfield a 25-20, 25-18, 19-25, 25-14 defeat.
"That's kind of been what we've struggled with all season is just being consistent and being a consistently strong team all the way across the board," Broomfield coach Monica Tuz said. "That's really what was part of our struggles all season. They still fought, and it's nice to say we at least won a couple games at state. Both of those teams are really good teams. Unfortunately one of them isn't going to go on."
Both matches followed a nearly identical blueprint for Broomfield. Each time the Eagles dropped the first two sets, falling into holes they never could quite crawl all the way out of. However, in each instance Broomfield responded by winning the third set, and each time the Eagles immediately put their opponents on their heels by racing to hot starts in the fourth sets.
Against Longmont, Broomfield led 8-3 before watching the Trojans pull away by outscoring the Eagles 21-6. Broomfield repeated that pattern against Coronado, backing its third-set win by jumping to an 8-5 lead in the fourth set. Coronado, however, immediately reasserted its control, ultimately outscoring the Eagles 20-6 the rest of the way to end Broomfield's season.
"I think we just had to get adjusted to the team we were playing and what the team did," said senior setter Kailee Van Tine, who compiled 67 assists in the two matches. "Our team just had to learn what they did to move differently. After they got a few runs, our energy just dropped. We had to pick ourselves up, but as we picked ourselves up they kept getting runs on us."
Tuz will lose a number of quality seniors in Van Tine, Hanna Boyer, and Rachael Dye, yet the Eagles received encouraging signs for the future as the season wore on from sophomore Callie Kaiser and 5-foot-11 freshman Brenna Fankell. Tuz hopes this year's state experience, the program's first since 2009, helps motivate the Eagles' younger players in much the same manner as that 2009 run encouraged this year's seniors when they witnessed it as freshmen.
"The last time we were here I had nine seniors, but this time we have a much greater number of lower classmen," Tuz said. "They see what it is and what it's like to be here. Broomfield is good at sports and it's almost expected. So hopefully we can start getting that expectation that this is what we want to do every single year."
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LONGMONT 3, BROOMFIELD 1
At Denver Colisuem
Broomfield (15-11) 16 20 25 18
Longmont (25-1) 25 25 22 25
Kills -- Broomfield: Boyer 17, Kaiser 12, Fankell 6; Longmont: Lacy Haddock 16, Mau 8, Wetterstrom 8, Lyndie Haddock 8.
Blocks -- Broomfield: Biggerstaff 2; Longmont: Wetterstrom 4, Precht 4.
Assists -- Broomfield: Van Tine 36; Longmont: Michalski 28, Lyndie Haddock 23.
Aces -- Broomfield: Boyer 1, Van Tine 1; Longmont: Lacy Haddock 2, Mau 2, Michalski 2.
Digs -- Broomfield: Boyer 21, Dye 12, Kaiser 12; Longmont: Cox 24, Lacy Haddock 21, Johnson 16.
CORONADO 3, BROOMFIELD 1
At Denver Coliseum
Broomfield (15-12) 20 18 25 14
Coronado (23-3) 25 25 19 25
Kills -- Broomfield: Boyer 16, Kaiser 14.
Blocks -- Broomfield: Biggerstaff 2, Fankell 2.
Assists -- Broomfield: Van Tine 31.
Aces -- Broomfield: Boyer 3, Van Tine 2.
Digs -- Broomfield: Dye 26.